Do you want to learn how to work on your own car? You can learn anything on YouTube these days, as long as you have the right tools. Before you pop the hood, make sure these tools are in your toolbox.
Pliers are perfect for grabbing, pulling, cutting, squeezing, and bending. There are lots of different kinds of pliers, and you should have several of them in your toolbox. You need linesman pliers, vise grip pliers, slip joint pliers, and long nose pliers. Consider buying some out-of-sight pliers that have the gripping parts bent at an angle to the handle. These allow you to see what you’re doing with the pliers more easily.
Every mechanic needs a good socket set that includes a wide variety of sockets in metric and standard sizes. Your socket set should also include a good ratchet handle and extender bars to help you get more leverage when you’re struggling to break loose a bolt or nut. A bent-handle ratchet can help you get to harder-to-reach bolts and nuts.
Screwdrivers can be used for small prying jobs, as well as tightening and loosening screws. You will need phillips and flathead screwdrivers in a range of sizes. You may also need torx screwdrivers for torx screws and hex screwdrivers for hex screws.
A mechanic’s creeper is a little platform on wheels that you can lie down on in order to slide more easily underneath your car and back out again. Since you probably don’t have a lift in your home garage, a creeper will make repairing and maintaining your own cars easier. It will also save your back from the cold, hard ground.
Oil Funnel and Drain Pan
Oil changes are among the first maintenance jobs many home mechanics learn to do. You’ll need a flexible funnel to add more oil to your car and a drain pan to catch the used oil as it drains out. You should also buy an oil filter wrench to help you get the old filter out and put in a new one.
Floor Jack with Jack Stands
The emergency jack that comes with your car should only be used in emergencies, and you should never crawl under your car while it’s up on the emergency jack. If you want to get underneath your car, you need to buy an appropriately rated floor jack and jackstands. Make sure the jack and jackstands you choose are rated highly enough to hold your car’s weight. If you’re going to be working on multiple cars, it’s a good idea to get a heavy-duty floor jack and jackstands. At least make sure the jack is rated for use with the largest car you’ll be working on.
Dropping a spark plug, socket, or bolt into the depths of your engine block is one of the most frustrating things that can happen to a mechanic – and it happens to all mechanics eventually. You need a telescoping magnet tool to find and grab anything magnetic that you drop in your engine.
Fuel Line Disconnect Tool
Try to disconnect a fuel line with a pair of pliers and you’ll soon find yourself leaking fuel at an alarming rate. While the thought of buying a tool for one specific job can be upsetting, it’s worth the little money it costs to buy the appropriate fuel disconnect tool for your car. With this tool, you can disconnect fuel lines more easily than you would fumbling with a pair of pliers, and keep your fuel where it belongs.
Magnetic Work Light
You’ll always need more light when you’re working on your car, and a magnetic work light is the most versatile tool for your needs. You can mount it anywhere on your car to illuminate whatever you need to, whether it’s underneath the hood or on the underside of the car.
Digital Torque Adapter
When tightening bolts on your car, it’s important to get them just right. You need a torque wrench to ensure that you’re tightening your bolts sufficiently but, at the same time, not too much. A digital torque adapter can turn any socket handle into a torque wrench to help you tighten bolts to the right torque.
There’s no need to get your hands dirty or scrape your knuckles pulling a battery out of your car. With a battery carrier, you can grab the battery easily, without getting your hands dirty, lift it out, and carry it at one side. You can use it to put the new battery in more easily, too.
Home mechanics always need to have the right tools at hand. When you have the proper tools, fixing your car is easier, faster, and often cheaper.